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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Polemics (pronounced /pɵˈlɛmɪks/) is the practice of disputing or controverting significant, broad-reaching topics of magnitude such as religious, philosophical, political, or scientific matters. As such, a polemic text on a topic is often written specifically to dispute or refute a position or theory that is widely viewed to be beyond reproach.

The antonym of a polemic source is an apologia.

Polemic journalism was common in continental Europe when libel laws were not as stringent.[1] The Research Support Libraries Programme "Pamphlet and polemic: pamphlets as a guide to the controversies of the 17th-19th centuries", co-managed by the University of St. Andrews, the University of Aberdeen, and University of Wales Lampeter, collected and placed thousands of pamphlets on-line as a study of polemic rhetoric of that era.[2] There are other meanings of the word as well. Polemics is also a branch of theology, pertaining to the history or conduct of ecclesiastical controversy.[3]

The word is derived from the Greek word polemikos (πολεμικος), which means "warlike," "hostile".[4] Plato uses a character named Polemarchus in his dialogue Republic as a vehicle to drive forward an ethical debate.

See also


  1. ^ "polemic, or polemical literature, or polemics (rhetoric)". polemic, or polemical literature, or polemics (rhetoric). Retrieved 2008-02-21.  
  2. ^ "Pamphlet and polemic: pamphlets as a guide to the controversies of the 17th-19th centuries". Retrieved 2008-02-21.  
  3. ^ Nicole, Roger R. (Summer 1998). "Polemic Theology: How to Deal with Those Who Differ from Us". The Founders Journal (33). Retrieved 2008-02-21.  
  4. ^ Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary (Merriam-Webster Incorporated, Springfied, MA, 2005), s.v. "polemic"


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